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Ask an OBGYN – Is Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Possible?
Individuals who have given birth via cesarean section in the past may be eager to discuss the options for future deliveries with an OBGYN. In general, a c-section is performed when a traditional vaginal delivery is unsafe or impossible for mother and baby. This can occur when active labor has lasted for too long, the baby is not safely positioned for vaginal delivery, or if an unsafe drop in the baby's oxygen levels or heart rate are detected.
Whatever the cause, many women who have undergone a c-section still wish to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (known as a VBAC) with their next child. Proper guidance and professional care can help make this desire a safe and successful possibility.
Setting up for VBAC success
Some hospitals are more likely to require a cesarean delivery for previous c-section patients for legal reasons or simply to keep things running more smoothly in the labor and delivery wing. Many argue that cesarean scars are likely to rupture during labor, which will ultimately result in the same surgical procedure. However, this is relatively uncommon, and not the leading cause of repeat c-sections in expectant mothers.
Choosing medical professionals
Women who want to plan on a vaginal delivery instead of another c-section should start by choosing an OBGYN and hospital that will accept such a birth plan. A little research can help guide expectant mothers to locations and professionals that are more supportive of a VBAC.
Seeking extra assistance
In addition, the mother should consider hiring a doula or birth coach for labor. These experienced professionals can help guide mothers through a safer and more productive labor, setting them up for a greater chance of success when choosing a vaginal delivery.
Going through with a vaginal birth is completely possible, but often difficult regardless of personal history. Pregnant women who choose this option should gather a support system and mentally prepare themselves for dealing with intense discomfort for an extended period of time. Finally, discussing induction possibilities with an OBGYN can help create a healthy plan for the various possible delivery outcomes. While induction can cause unnecessary stress during labor and should be avoided in some VBAC cases, it could be helpful in others, especially if the baby is measuring large.
Reasons another cesarean may be still be performed
In most cases, women who choose to have a vaginal birth after cesarean are able to deliver their babies safely and as planned. However, even with proper care and planning, a repeat c-section may be necessary. Preexisting conditions or known abnormalities in the mother or baby may prompt an OBGYN to order a cesarean in advance to protect all parties involved. In addition, just as with first time deliveries, emergency situations can always arise that require a c-section.
A VBAC is often a good choice for expectant mothers. While it does come with some risks, they are often lower than those associated with first time or repeat c-sections. It is critical for the mother to be closely evaluated by an OBGYN to choose the safest option for both herself and her child.
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